The NHL Players' Association applied for union certification in the Canadian provinces of Quebec and British Columbia to prevent the Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks from using replacement players at home during the hockey lockout.
So it looks like the players know that they will not get the deal they want for next year, because the players are taking steps to stop replacements. This means that we will have NHL hockey next year, one way or another. Also, there will be a large pool of highly talented players without work, and if they all don't go off to Europe the talent available for WHA may make the league fly for a while. It'll be interesting to see how this all works out in the next couple of years.